Following reports of the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have issued an urgent safety advisory urging journalists covering events in Ukraine to exercise utmost caution.
Over 160 journalists have been injured since the beginning of the Ukraine's political crisis in November 2013, while journalist, Vyacheslaqv Vereymi, died after being brutally attacked in February.
"Given the many brutal attacks against journalists in Ukraine in recent months and the ever increasing tensions in the country, we urge journalists covering events to remain mindful of their safety at all times and to ensure they take every step necessary to protect themselves. No story is worth the loss of a life," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
The IFJ and EFJ advice includes:
Planning the trip:
- Know how to get there and ensure the airport in your destination is open and serviced by civilian carriers.
- Find out conditions for media accreditation
- Pre-arrange a local contact to help with directions and help arrange interviews and translate
- Agree with news desk on lines of communications, including time frame for contacts to submit reports or discuss security challenges.
On the ground:
- Always remain in a team. Safety is in numbers especially at night. Think about linking together if it gets violent
- Carry protective clothing: Flak jackets and helmets to provide robust protection
- Establish pre-arranged meetings points with the rest of your team (photographer, camera operator, producer, etc.) if you are separated always carry press identification
- While moving in a convoy, ensure there is constant communications between vehicles for prompt alert to danger
- Do not wear military style clothing such as camouflage
- Always arrange interviews in a secure area, away from riot or fighting. Know your rights: you have the right to remain silent and to be assisted by a competent and independent lawyer of your choice.
- Carry first aid kits and learn how to use them
- Tear gas is used to control riots, disperse crowds, and subdue individuals. It is intended to cause pain. The effects of the gas usually are temporary. You can expect relief from most of the symptoms within a couple of hours of exposure.
For more details on IFJ Safety, please consult theIFJ safety guidelineson our Ukraine Crisis campaign page
For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17
The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries